Ben Crane was on vacation with his family three years ago when it came to an abrupt end. His brother just happened to notice a crawler on television that said Phil Mickelson had withdrawn from the British Open, and Crane was next alternate to replace him.
There was one problem. This was on a Friday. Crane was in Idaho. The Open was at Turnberry.
''I went to a golf shop and bought every piece of warm clothing they had,'' Crane said Monday. ''I went with my brother, and we had a great time.''
It's a tougher call this year.
The alternate list for the British Open was established Monday by the most recent world ranking. Crane is at No. 54, making him the highest player not eligible, and therefore the first reserve. He is planning to go to Royal Lytham & St. Annes and take his chances of playing a major championship he loves.
But the alternate list won't kick in until the field dips below 156 players.
Even with Mark O'Meara withdrawing Tuesday, there already are 156 players who...